The new 白云飞机场 Baiyun International Airport opened recently, which I’m looking forward to flying in to and schlepping around in the luxury of the economy club lounge. But the real news is the lack of threat it poses to that other famous pit-stop, Chek Lap Kok, down the road in Hong Kong. Not that its current second-fiddle status has stopped half the world’s media trying to work an angle on how it is a threat and using impressively bold type to declare Chek Lap Kok’s doom.
The S$4 billion Baiyun International Airport is the first in China to be designed as an aviation hub. At present, the facility can handle more than 25 million passengers and a million tonnes of cargo a year. The state-of-the-art airport has facilities more advanced than those at Hong Kong’s six-years-old Chek Lap Kok Airport, its main rival.
For starters, there have been relatively fewer negative reports about problems faced at its opening, compared with the widely publicised chaotic near-disaster which hit CLKA when it opened six years ago.
Yet for all the talk about Baiyun posing a threat to Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s second-biggest air hub, many businessmen reckon it would be many more years before that can happen.